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The new ship multiplies by four the functions of the aircraft carrier “Príncipe de Asturias” The Kings of Spain Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía have chaired this afternoon, at the Navantia factory in Ferrol (A Coruña), the launching of the Strategic Projection Vessel (BPE) Juan Carlos I, the largest war ship of the Spanish naval history. At 18.09 hours, the Queen was the one in charge of activating the stick that propelled the bottle of Champaign that broke against the hull of the vessel; an event that started the exit to the sea of the vessel.
The sound of the Spanish anthem accompanied this symbolic act and the vessel on its encounter with the sea. Thousands of people of Ferrol were present at the launching of the vessel and the other ships docked next to the Navantia shipyard have followed it using their sirens.
The King, dressed as General Captain of the Army, was accompanied by the Princes of Asturias and by the Ministers of Defense, José Antonio Alonso, and Culture, César Antonio Molina. Don Felipe was wearing the uniform of Corvette Captain of the Army. In addition, high rank officers of the Army were present and the president of the Xunta of Galicia, the socialist Emilio Pérez Touriño.

230 meters long
The Juan Carlos I, with more than 230 meters in length, slid towards the sea until anchoring in the Ferrol Ría just in front of the army arsenal. The new ship is bigger than the aircraft carrier Príncipe de Asturias, which until now was the largest vessel of the Spanish Army Fleet. The ship can be employed as an aircraft platform, amphibious vessel for the Marine Corps, vessel for deployment of the army forces and to carry out humanitarian support missions.
The vessel has meant an investment of 360 million euros and is forecasted that in a year it will be handed over to the Spanish Army officially, once the combat control and communication systems are installed for starting its military journey. Its construction started in June of 2005 and the name Juan Carlos I was assigned by a ministerial decree of the 19th of October of 2006.
New uses
The vessel multiplies by four the uses of the current aircraft carrier Príncipe de Asturias; it will substitute it whenever this one is not operative. While the Príncipe de Asturias can only be used as an aircraft carrier, the new ship can be used for non-military humanitarian operations and to transport forces of the Army and of the Marine Corps.
The Juan Carlos I will have a crew of 243 soldiers and capacity to transport up to 1.200 soldiers. The interior of the vessel is designed to transport motorboats and disembarking vehicles, and it has available a platform with capacity for 30 aircrafts. (Source: El País).

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